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The Show of Shows

The Show of Shows(1929)

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  • "The Show of Shows" Speaks!

    • WBMusicalFan
    • 9/9/14

    This Warner's extravaganza isn't much different from MGM's "The Hollywood Revue of 1929", or "Paramount on Parade, " or Universal's "The King of Jazz." Each of these films is an early effort to get the studios' stable of stars in front of the microphone that was transforming Hollywood films like wildfire in the late '20's. "Show" is uneven, a fact the critics recognized even back when it was new, and some of the routines were creaky vaudeville or old Broadway by then. However, for a film fan interested in witnessing history in the making, it's a worthwhile way to enjoy two hours to witness this testimony. Some of the Warner stars are more at ease before the cam than others. Winnie Lightner is a hoot in her two numbers, proving why the "Song a Minute" Girl from Broadway was a hit while the 20's roared, but whose energy probably didn't fit as easily into the Depression days that were just about to happen. Nick Lucas could warble a tune well. Myrna Loy, still in her exotic period, is an unusual choice for a Chinese dancer! The film highlights just how pretty stars like Dolores Costello, Loretta Young, and Ann Sothern (Harriet Lake, still) were. Barrymore impresses. Barthelmess seems frightened. Rinny barks! Frank Fay emcees well enough, and his one spotlight song shows the man had a decent voice and some real talent, although his big success was not in film, but on stage in "Harvey" fifteen years later. The cinematography doesn't match the sound quality, but part of that is the stagey look of the movie, especially when so much of it is filmed from a distance to try to get as many of the hundreds of dancers and singers on the screen as possible in numbers like the "Jumping Jack" routine (the 72 girls in black and white contrasting dresses) or the "Lady Luck" finale with seemingly every hoofer in Hollywood on the sound stage at one time. Is it a great movie? No. Is it a witness to history that still has some moments that shine and entertain? Absolutely!

  • Where's Rinty?

    • Savoirfaire
    • 9/9/14

    If, like me, you were interested in this bore-fest to see Rin Tin Tin, he is somewhere near the middle and all he does is cross the stage and bark once into the approximate direction of the camera ( or handler). Disappointing seeing as he was Warners greatest star. The host , Frank Fay was Barbara Stanwick's first husband. He is not bad - you can see why he was a broadway star. He and Barb were the original "star is born" couple, she growing ever bigger as a movie star and his career never really catching on in the movies. John Barrymore is stunning in his filmed piece and it makes you wish that all his stage performances were filmed. He was a fine, natural film actor and really toned it down in movies but he is a powerhouse in this Shakespeare Richard III production. Oh, and there are some black dancers near the end who would give James Brown some competition for fastest feet.

  • Where's Rinty?

    • Savoirfaire
    • 9/9/14

    If were like me you were interested in this bore-fest to see Rin Tin Tin, he is in the last half and all he does is cross the stage and bark once into the approximate direction of the camera ( or handler). Disappointing seeing as he was Warners greatest star. The host , Frank Fay was Barbara Stanwick's first husband. He is not bad - you can see why he was a broadway star. He and Barb were the original "star is born" couple, she growing ever bigger as a star and his career never really catching on in the movies.

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